“What really matters is not whether we have problems, but how we go through them. We must keep going on to make it through whatever we are facing.” Rosa Parks
A lot of us are very uncomfortable about what is being reflected to us right now. Whether it’s the images on our TV screen, the words of a friend on Facebook, or witnessing with our very own eyes the way someone is being treated. What do you see? Can you really look at what you see very deeply without looking away? Can you feel the discomfort?
Do you see what is happening with Black Americans? Some of us, myself included, have turned a blind eye from what we are seeing for a very long time. Not because we didn’t think it was right, but maybe because we didn’t think that there was anything that WE could do. So we just looked the other way and maintained the status quo. That is a hard thing to admit.
I asked my daughter the other day if she felt that I have in any way raised her to be prejudiced. As a child, I remember moving out of a predominantly white neighborhood when a couple of black families moved in. Why? Because the value of the houses would go down. That’s what my parents said. That’s what everyone in the neighborhood said. It’s uncomfortable to even say that. That was just one instance of many that I could recount. As I raised my own children I did not want to create any prejudices in them, so I tried to be aware of my words and my actions. But every once in a while I would catch myself and some ingrained ignorant belief that was embedded in me would rear its ugly head and make me wince. There is a saying that I learned a long time ago: You do what you know, and when you know better, do better. So what can I do that’s better?
First of all- LOOK. I need to SEE what’s happening to Black Americans. I cannot turn my head because it’s uncomfortable. I believe that we must do better. That I must do better. We must acknowledge that our systems are broken and need to be changed.
“There are conversations you haven’t had, stories that need to be unraveled. And if we all do that in our backyard, in our office, in our families, have the difficult conversations, miracles happen.” Elizabeth Lesser